What are you thankful for? ‘Tis the season to slow down, take a breath, and reflect. Is my heart truly thankful, or am I busy reflecting on the cares and worries of my day? Am I giving thanks or growing weary? And when I am thankful, do I act on that thankfulness?
Years ago, when we lived in Oregon, my husband met occasionally with two other men for prayer and mutual encouragement. After we moved back to Washington, my husband kept in contact with one of the men. He mourned and prayed with him as his wife was diagnosed with cancer and died. And once again, he is mourning with this friend over the loss of his twenty-something son. We weep for this man, and for his daughter, as they now must deal with losing yet another precious loved one. And the usual question, “Why?”, popped into my mind.
Yet sometimes it is not ours to know why but to trust the Who. God is in charge, and God has a plan, but wow, sometimes the now in His plan is just plain devastating. In those times, we cling to Him, to the truth of His goodness and love, and trust that things will be okay, somehow, someday.
Why did I share this? To help me, and perhaps to help you, remember the little things (that really aren’t so little) to be thankful for. Did you get to see, speak with, anticipate an upcoming time or meeting with, your loved ones today? Give thanks. And act upon your thankfulness ~ tell them you love them, spend time with them! If some of your loved ones have gone ahead to meet Jesus, are you ready, when your time comes, to meet Jesus and be reunited with them? Give thanks. And live your life today, right now, one step at a time, moment by moment, for Jesus, anticipating the coming reunion!
Did you wake up this morning? Give thanks. And make this day count! Was there food to eat after climbing from a warm bed? Give thanks. And find ways to share with those who don’t have enough food or warmth.
Have you ever “repent[ed] and believe[d] in the gospel” (Mark 1:15b), the good news of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, and accepted God’s free gift of salvation, by grace (undeserved, unearned mercy and love and forgiveness) through faith in Jesus? Give thanks. And then share that good news with the people around you!
I want to live each moment with a grateful heart, recognizing:
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” ~ James 1:17
But I also want to remember to give thanks even when I don’t feel like it. Even when someone I love is hurting or has died, even when I am sick or in pain, even when there isn’t enough food or warmth. Even when. In everything give thanks.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
“In everything give thanks.” How do we do that? I think Paul tells us in the verse above: rejoicing always, praying without ceasing, we give thanks in everything, following God’s will for us. Easy peasy? Um, no. But we can do all things through Christ Jesus and with His strength.
Once again, Paul shares with us his own struggles:
“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” ~ Philippians 4:11-13
Let’s encourage each other to give thanks in everything, rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and follow God’s will, through Christ’s strength. And let’s act on our thankfulness and bless others around us this holiday season!
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” ~ Galatians 6:9-10